There may not be any original ideas left, but here at Pocket Gamer we see old ideas, clones and re-engineerings all the time that impress us with subtle twists on classic concepts. Just because it’s not a totally original notion doesn’t mean it can’t make for an excellent game.
Wireless Tanks finds itself paddling in these waters, though unfortunately it fails to get out of the shallow end. There’s more than a little ingenuity bubbling beneath its surface, but much of it is at the expense of any real gameplay.
Perhaps it’s fairer to say Wireless Tanks’s strength is in its multiplayer aspect. Unfortunately, however, the mobile gaming arena hasn’t really entered the phase of its existence where sacrificing single player aspects can easily be justified for the sake of communal gaming.
The 35 single player missions take part over World War I, World War II and the satirically titled ‘oil conflict’. There isn’t a great deal of noticeable difference between the three time periods, though the range of missions is quite intriguing.
Getting behind the wheel of a tank, it’s up to you to scour the landscape looking for supplies and ammo, taking out invading tanks, defending your base and (a personal favourite) protecting convoys as they pass through dangerous territories.
The gameplay is exactly what you’d expect. Your tank moves at precise right angles, so confronting an enemy vehicle means facing it directly and trading missile fire, hoping the opposition doesn’t outlast you. Tactically there’s very little else to do.
You can call in reinforcements, which works quite nicely when allied tanks appear to aid your cause, but moving in straight lines and hitting fire as quickly as possible really is the crux of play.
Multiplayer mode seems to be where Dynamic Pixels has poured the majority of its attention. Bluetooth connectivity allows up to eight players to battle it out on one map in a boots-first skirmish mode.
Wireless Tanks’s instructions are laden with advice on how to get the Bluetooth multiplayer network up and running, though in practice it seemed to pretty much sort itself out (much to the game’s credit). A number of CPU controlled tanks can also be thrown into the mix to keep the action hot.
Essentially, the multiplayer gameplay is isolated from the more entertaining aspects of the single player mode (what with it simply being a kill or be killed scenario), though as always, battling it out with other humans brings its own heightened levels of brutal entertainment.
It’s no fun scorning your handset, but rubbing defeat in the faces of other fallen tank drivers is quite priceless, so it’s undeniable that Wireless Tanks comes to life in this very accessible multiplayer mode.
Of course, all this hinges on several Bluetooth-equipped, Wireless Tanks-owning pocket gamers getting together (within range) to engage in armoured warfare. If you’re more likely to be playing alone, the lack of variety and rudimentary tank fights are unlikely to hold your attention for very long.
If indeed you’re this new breed of online/networked mobile gamer, then Wireless Tanks ought to be quite high on your games list, but for the majority of pocket gamers out there this isn’t the twist on classic gameplay we generally hope for.